Would You Work Here?

I came across this “vision statement” that was meant to rally employees in an organization and industry undergoing change.

 

(Note: I’ve done some minor editing only to disguise the name and type of company,)

 

“We are ONE TEAM determined to build a thriving organization.

We understand that consumers will always have more choices; therefore our actions must by driven by what they need.

We will inform and empower our community through new products and yet-to-be imagined ways while we adapt and sustain our organization well into the future. We will drive urgent change.

By doing this, we will build a thriving organization, admired by employees and customers for making our community an even better place in which to live well, do business and prosper in a free society.”

I admit that I don’t know the circumstances of who created this vision statement (presumably a management team), how it was positioned, and how it was introduced. But its tone really put me off.

While the ultimate intent — to “build a thriving organization … for making our community an even better place” — is lofty, to me the language used throughout the vision statement sounds heavy handed: “We are ONE TEAM … our actions must be driven … we will drive urgent change … “

And then there’s the corporate ego that refers to “a thriving organization admired by employees and customers …”

So I ask you: is this a place you would want to work?

If you read this vision statement differently, I would love to know your reaction.

13 Comments

  • Jo April 12, 2008 Reply

    Just discovered you! Sadly, we probably work there already.

  • Sybil March 27, 2008 Reply

    As vision statements go, Wegman’s is short & sweet and meaningful. Thanks for sharing it, George.
    And thanks to all of you who responded to this post. Yes, we are looking at this vision out of context; even so, it comes across poorly. (I wonder if a draft was ever tested by a sample of employees … )

  • George Kittredge March 27, 2008 Reply

    Sybil,
    I concur with you. Wegman’s Grocery has the best vision statement. “Every day you get our best.” There’s a lot of meaning in those six words.
    George

  • Wade Souza March 26, 2008 Reply

    I think there are some good ideas/intentions here but the language sounds heavy handed and in some cases simply laughable due to the lofty and probably unrealistic goals. I would want something that seemed to reflect an attitude of unity, seemed to come from the employees and not overly reaching but instead helped guide attitudes and behaviours. However, I wonder at the same time if we arent being too critical and not recognizing that for many organizations just having a vision statement, mission statement etc, poor or otherwise, is a BIG step forward. Getting some expression of corporate values, intentions and direction on how to act is better than none and no indicators anyone cares!
    After 12 years in corporate America, I worked for 11 years in medium sized ($100-200 million revenue) private companies. Frankly, the idea of putting these kinds of thoughts down on paper never would have flown….making the company more profitable was all that mattered to the owners. Their attitude towards customers was more often “win-lose” than “win-win” and while they made a show of caring about employees it was very much a plantation mentality where you traded your soul for some degree of security but had to abide by “Mother Company” rules, many which worked against doing a good job and feeling empowered. The companies paid ok but due to the small market employees had only limited options to go elsewhere if dissatisfied. Getting things done, decisions made, people empowered/allowed to do the right thing towards customers, peers etc was like pulling teeth. Something like the above statement would have been HUGE in terms of making people feel like the company cared, set parameters for dealing with constituencies, provided direction on how the company would be successful, etc.
    Sometimes on this site I get the sense that people work in a different world than much of America does. Much of what I read here I have heard of happening in companies on the West Coast in technology companies etc. But many people still work in old line companies.

  • Bill Peluso March 26, 2008 Reply

    Hi Sybil,
    I had a similar reaction… Who is this vision attempting to engage??? Seems to me a rather uninspired and disconnected collection of “corporate speak.” The authors of this vision may have had good intentions but lacked guidance in crafting a vision of the future that was compelling and engaging for ALL stakeholders…
    Regards,
    Bill

  • Frank Haas March 25, 2008 Reply

    I think they need a little Prozac. It sounds like the team is going to be whipped into excellence. There has to be a reason to strive for excellence … customer understanding … company values … mutual benefit … etc. This comes across as an imperative without a motivation.

  • Yvonne DiVita March 25, 2008 Reply

    Hmmm…sounds like it was a chore to create. I think the ‘sentiment’ is right but… they are not able to actually convey their purpose. They need a good copywriter.

  • Merrill Dubrow March 25, 2008 Reply

    Sybil,
    Before I say if I would work here I want to mention a few things:
    This statement appears to be very strong with the words “we will” mentioned numerous times. The only words of the statement I like are:
    We understand that consumers will always have more choices; therefore our actions must by driven by what they need.
    That clearly makes sense and more important makes business sense.
    Doesn’t appear to be much of a vision statement to me – more like a rah rah speech.
    To answer your question – no this vision statement wouldn’t get me to work there.
    Sybil – Interesting post.
    Keep up the good work.
    Merrill

  • Toby March 25, 2008 Reply

    Sybil – I dropped the question on Twitter and here were the comments:
    I found @guykawasaki guidance very valuable http://tinyurl.com/m9kjh;
    It seems a little too broad, too generic and too non-specific to be very useful;
    sounds like classic corporate BS to me;
    I kinda liked it. Strongly stated, but with altruistic goals.;
    Sounds cheerleader-y, yet vague.

  • Charlotte Ravaioli March 25, 2008 Reply

    It sounds like a message of teamwork and unity delivered with a sledgehammer. Actually, it’s probably pretty revealing—lip service to the sentiment but no real commitment to it.

  • Steve Woodruff March 25, 2008 Reply

    Sounds like a mission statement cut-and-pasted out of my soon-to-be-released book, “How to Blend into the Woodwork by Creating a Business Non-identity.”

  • olivier blanchard March 25, 2008 Reply

    “We will drive urgent change.
    By doing this, we will build a thriving organization, admired by employees and customers for making our community an even better place in which to live well, do business and prosper in a free society.”
    I can’t say I disagree with the sentiment, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense. The “prosper in a free society” and “making our community an even better place in which to live well” seem very out of place. “Urgent Change…” for the sake of urgent change (?) is a bit odd.
    It sounds like whomever wrote this is addressing much more than a company’s mission. Was this written in a (former) dictatorship of some sort?
    I could be wrong, but it was probably written by and for people whose political, social and corporate environment is very different from the one you and I enjoy in the West.

  • Chris Bonney March 25, 2008 Reply

    Perhaps it made more sense with the name and category identified. But as edited, I have no idea what they stand for, and certainly no idea what their “vision” is. And if I worked there, this wouldn’t give me any idea what to do next. There are lots of values and buzzwords being thrown around, but I don’t see any vision. These seems to have been written by someone more interested in the byproducts of vision rather than in the vision itself.
    Send these guys a copy of Dan Heath and Chip Heath’s “Made to Stick.”

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